This ‘71 ’Cuda Packs A Knock-Out Punch You Won’t See Coming!
Back in the day, the Chrysler factory guys took approximately two days from the time a body was panel-jigged ( or “gated-up”) from raw stampings until it rolled off the final line and out the door. At the time, they sent about one car off the assembly line every minute. Of course, they had everything they needed to build them at their fingertips, and did each task over and over. For somebody who desires something tuned up to a later era, this is not so easy a process, but Tom Gipe of Cypress, California, went the distance with his real FC7 In-Violet ’Cuda, which started as less than a roller.
“Actually, it was probably the worst kind of decision from a financial standpoint,” he says now. “It was nothing more than a shell with two data plates, a rust bucket from New Hampshire, but the opportunity was there to build it the way I wanted it without straying too far from factory options. It also allowed me do some things without worrying about messing up an original Hemi car.”
So, yes, this is a Hemi ’Cuda tribute, one of a fairly substantial group of cars that have been upped to elephant status since the production cycle on the model ended in the summer months of 1971, sealing the Hemi legacy. And it is a real hip code FC7/340 body, which is a nice starting point to get at least some of the armchair complainers off their game. Notwithstanding, it has been the building and rebuilding effort over the course of the past dozen years that makes Tom’s car special, especially the fact that it is powered by one of the final Hemi engines to come from Dick Landy Industries.
Tom admits he willingly errs on the side of caution with driving this car, saying it is real fast but he has never pushed the engine to its limits on the open road. Likewise, it’s not built for drag racing either, guessing that in the right hands the Plymouth could be shifted to a 12-second time or better with the current rear gearing. A member of the South Bay Mopars, he attends the club’s monthly meetings in Torrance, CA, plus Van Nuys Spring Fling, the charity Mopars in May at California School for the Deaf in Riverside, and other events close to home. The Charger and a variety of other Mopars, both vintage and modern, share garage space with Tom’s ’Cuda.
“I’m very happy with the results and gratified that all the hard work has resulted in a car that I enjoy driving. It has been done to look stock, but it sits a little lower, has no vinyl roof or billboards, and cloth seats. I added the elastomeric bumpers to maximize the amount of purple, but the tags read this car came new with a shaker hood, color matching mirrors, road lights, and the color FC7. I suppose I could have gotten any ’Cuda and painted it In-violet, but I have this thing about keeping a car’s color original, so for me it was a must.
“This is considered my long-distance car since the engine runs very cool and it has boundless low-end grunt, and it gets a lot of attention because of its style and color,” says Tom. For those who live in SoCal, he adds, “if you want a rush of color, drive a purple Mopar through a neighborhood with blooming Jacaranda trees in the spring. The reflection of purple flowers on purple paint is retina-searing…”
And that is FC7, the way it ought to be…
Also you can check gallery for more amazing photos of this truly masterpiece:
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